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Book Recommendations to Read Like Rory Gilmore

Pop Culture

September 27, 2022

“I live in two worlds; one is a world of books.” -Gilmore Girls

As seen in Gilmore Girls, Rory Gilmore always has a book in her hands. Whether she is waiting for the bus or at lunch, she is always reading. The fact that a movie character that so many look up to reads so much, made readers feel as if they weren't alone.

She also made non-readers want to become avid bookworms. This is how the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge, which contains a full list of all the books read by Rory, was created. It serves as a motivation tool for readers, since you can share your progress with other bookworms, while trying to fufill the goal of finishing the list.

However, those who are interested in starting the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge often give up when they see the number of books she was seen reading on screen (there are over 400)! So, here are a few of the novels she picked that you should definitely give a try, allowing you to get a start with the reading challenge without feeling overwhelmed.


Anna Karenina

By Leo Tolstoy

Photo credit: Goodreads

Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is one of the numerous Russian classic novels that Rory Gilmore is fond of. She even mentions it to Dean, her first boyfriend, and says that it is one of her favourites. The novel follows the life of Anna Karenina who seems like she has it all.

Whether it is beauty, popularity, wealth or an adored son, she has everything someone would ever want. However, she feels as if there is an emptiness in her life — until she meets the officer Count Vronsky. Their affair is a scandal to the society they live in and their own family, and jealousy and bitterness will be brought in its wake.

"Contrasting with this tale of love and self-destruction is the vividly observed story of Levin, a man striving to find contentment and a meaning to his life - and also a self-portrait of Tolstoy himself." Goodreads

Reading a Tolstoy novel can be hard, especially for someone new to his books, so here is some advice on how to do so:

  • Make sure you get a right translation of the novel. It will be far easier to understand the story with a correct translation.

  • Take notes in the margin. Anna Karenina talks a lot of life and human relationships, which you can learn important messages from. So, make notes of your thoughts as you are reading, and try to analyze the novel (for example, highlight your favourite quotes).

  • To really connect with the novel, allow yourself to feel emotions as you are reading. Anna Karenina will most likely enhance your empathy, which can allow you to connect with the characters.

  • Additionally, pay close attention to the character of Levin, since you can learn a lot about the author himself through him.

The Bell Jar

By Sylvia Plath

Photo credit: Goodreads

The Bell Jar follows Esther Greenwood, who is intelligent, beautiful, talented, and extremely successful. However, she is slowly breaking down, and the reader then follows her as she descends into insanity. While reading this novel, you can try connecting to Esther's uncertainty in her plans and goals.

This is something many live with, especially when talking about school and careers. In addition, the Bell Jar is one of the most referenced books in Gilmore Girls.

"Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic." Goodreads

The Picture of Dorian Gray

By Oscar Wilde

Photo credit: Goodreads

"The horror, whatever it was, had not yet entirely spoiled that marvellous beauty." Goodreads

Dorian Gray, the main character of The Picture of Dorian Gray, exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend, Lord Henry Wotton, he falls in love with the idea of living a corrupt double life, by following his desires in secret and still remaining a gentleman in the eyes of society. However, you can only see traces of decadence in his portrait.

"The Picture of Dorian Gray was a succès de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins, and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895." Goodreads

This book explores the idea of Aestheticism. So while you are reading it, try to remember to pay close attention to moments where Dorian's devotion to beauty and pleasure is clear. It might help you make connections throughout the book and understand his way of thinking.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

Photo credit: Goodreads

Alice in Wonderland is one of Rory's and Lorelai's Gilmores favourite book, and it mentioned several times throughout the show. You have most likely seen one of the numerous adaptations of this book, not nothing beats reading the story itself.

"I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir," said Alice, "Because I'm not myself, you see." Goodreads

Alice sees a white rabbit with a watch on and ends up following it, curious about why it would be wearing such a thing. She then ends up in Wonderland and goes through a series of events that make up her adventures. Furthermore, while reading Alice in Wonderland, you can use that moment to reconnect with your past self and remember your childhood memories (especially since this story was often a part of most people's childhoods).

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Photo credit: Goodreads

The Great Gatsby is considered to be one of the greatest classics of the twentieth-century literature by many. The story follows the wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the pretty Daisy Buchanan. You can connect Gatsby's story and character to our current life.

That is because Jay Gatsby tries controlling people with the power of his wealth, which can also be seen nowadays. Throughout the book, the author continues to describe how money is in control of our world, and it is still the case today.

"The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers." Goodreads

Franny and Zooey

By J. D. Salinger

Photo credit: Goodreads

Franny and Zoey are two siblings in the Glass family. Franny seems to have a perfect life with her boyfriend, but what most don't see is that they struggle to communicate with each other. So as Franny's doubts increase, her older brother Zooey, a former child genius, gives her brotherly advice.

When reading this book, you can easily connect to their sibling bond and Franny's doubts about her relationship (which is something most people face in their own relationships). But that's not all, in fact, most people connect to the agitated mind of early adulthood and the theme of identity that is express through this book.

Fun fact: Salinger's Franny and Zoey was the book that Jess claimed to be looking for when he got caught in Rory's room!

'Everything everybody does is so—I don’t know—not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless and—sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you’re conforming just as much only in a different way.’ Goodreads

Little Women

By Louisa May Alcott

Photo credit: Goodreads

You have watched the movie, now it's time to read the book! Little women follows four sisters. You will meet Jo, a talented author, beautiful Meg, frail Beth, and spoiled Amy, as they try to survive in New England during the civil war. You can make numerous connections throughout the book to its author, since Louisa May Alcott based Little Women on her own life.

Louisa did what was considered as women's work at that time, such as sewing and laundry, to be able to support herself and her sisters. But she soon realized she could make more money writing, which is where Little women comes in.

"Little Women brought her lasting fame and fortune, and far from being the "girl’s book” her publisher requested, it explores such timeless themes as love and death, war and peace, the conflict between personal ambition and family responsibilities, and the clash of cultures between Europe and America." Goodreads


By Ian McEwan

Photo credit: Goodreads

Atonement starts with thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis as she witnesses the flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and the son of a servant, Robbie Turner. But being a child, she doesn't completely understand the actions of adults, and her wild imagination brings her to think it was a crime. As we follow Briony's point of view, the author explains how someone's perspective shapes their reality.

"(...) a crime that will change all their lives, a crime whose repercussions Atonement follows through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century." Goodreads

The Fountainhead

By Ayn Rand

Photo credit: Goodreads

The Fountainhead is the story of a young architect, Howard Roark, whose integrity lies with the woman who loved him, Dominique Francon, but who married his worst enemy. This modern classic follows Howard Roark as he tries to battle society and its conventional standards, and as he refuses to comprise with an architectural establishment that won't accept his innovation.

"As fresh today as it was then, Rand’s provocative novel presents one of the most challenging ideas in all of fiction—that man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress..." Goodreads

Dead Souls

By Nikolai Vasil'evich Gogol'

Photo credit: Goodreads

"Dead Souls is eloquent on some occasions, lyrical on others, and pious and reverent elsewhere. Nicolai Gogol was a master of the spoof. The American students of today are not the only readers who have been confused by him. Russian literary history records more divergent interpretations of Gogol than perhaps of any other classic." Goodreads

Rory makes a pact with her mom to tell everyone she was reading Dead Souls when she got her acceptance letter from Harvard, because she loves this novel. This comic classic of Russian literature follows Chichikov, a conniving schemer and a dismissed civil servant, who buys deceased servant's names from their landlords' tax lists. He does so in hope of mortgaging them for profit, so that he can then reinvent himself as an adored gentleman.


Gilmore Girls is one of the most popular comfort shows, and what's better than reading the same books the main character has read? Not only will you understand more of the references mentioned in the show, but you will also gain so much more knowledge (which might be useful in school)! If you have enjoyed the books above, here is the complete list of every novel read by Rory Gilmore if you wish to complete the challenge.

Read more about Rory Gilmore on The Teen Magazine here: What Went Wrong with Rory Gilmore.

Daria D
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Writer since Jul, 2022 · 22 published articles

Daria is a high school student from Canada. She has a passion for writing and science. She also enjoys reading, learning new languages, swimming, and drawing.